Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm Proud To Say I Shook His Hand

One of my favorite musicians has long been folk/rock singer Peter Case, a real troubadour in the old school tradition. (No mention of Pete seems complete without a reference to his 80s band, The Plimsouls, featured prominently in the archetypal 80's movie, Valley Girl, doing their biggest hit, "A Million Miles Away." There, now that's out of the way.)

Like way too many other musicians and artists, Peter doesn't really have health insurance, so when he experienced a serious heart attack back in January, he managed to rack up huge medical bills. He's on his way to recovery, but as can be expected he's not working while the medical bills continue to roll in, and let's face it, there ain't much money in troubadouring these days. A relief fund has been started by his friends and colleagues to help raise money to cover the bills, called "Hidden Love" after one of his songs. Any amount will help, but a $35 donation gets you a copy of the 3-disc tribute CD, A Case for Case, featuring performances by John Prine, Todd Snider, Amy Rigby, Dave Alvin, Chuck Prophet, Richard Buckner, and many other folk/rock luminaries.

Back in my "rock writer" days, I got to interview Peter for a little Columbus paper, and he was really fascinating, winding his stories in with his personal philosophy and observations. Maybe he was just experienced with interviews, but I think he's truly a natural-born story teller, which I think is why he moved from playing 'new wave' to making folk albums that, as he put it, weren't expensive enough to be sold by major labels. He said that he got paid for the traveling, but played the music for free. I have to believe that. I saw one of his shows around the time of the OJ Simpson white Bronco fiasco, and he pointed out how, when he was a kid, cool things like the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, or the moon landing would happen on TV one time, and you'd never see them again. Now, nothing cool ever happens, but you see it over and over again.

"Beyond the Blues", "Poor Old Tom", "Travelin' Light", "Two Angels", and "Icewater" are some of my favorite Peter Case tunes. You can check them out here... I'm sure he'd appreciate a little extra in his royalty checks about now. And I know things are tough all over, but if you can send even a few bucks to help Peter out, you'll help make the world a more interesting place.